Lonicera nitida is an evergreen shrubby honeysuckle, native to China. A popular hedging plant, it's hardy and quick-growing, excellent for screening and is easy to grow. Recently its botanical name has changed to Lonicera ligustrina var. yunnanensis but it's generally sold under its old name, which is easier to pronounce and remember.
Lonicera nitida is sometimes referred to as box-leaved honeysuckle, as the small, oval, evergreen leaves are fairly similar in appearance to those of box (Buxus sempervirens). The leaf colour of the species is mid to dark green, while several varieties offer coloured foliage, such as ‘Baggessen’s Gold’ which produces leaves that are bright yellow when young, maturing to lime-green.
Lonicera nitida is very easy to grow and thrives in a wide range of soils and situations. For the best results, grow in fertile soil that is moist but well drained, and keep in shape by trimming up to two or three times a year during the growing season. The best time to prune is late summer, once birds have finished nesting, followed by a final trim in autumn so the hedge looks neat over winter. Height can be up to three metres, though a trimmed hedge can be kept to as little as 1.2m high and 60 cm wide.
To grow Lonicera nitida as a hedge, plant 30cm apart in a single row. If a thicker hedge is required, plant in a double, staggered row with the same spacing between plants and the two rows. Ideally plant either in autumn or early to mid-spring and keep watered until established.
Buy Lonicera nitida as pot grown plants all year round from nurseries, garden centres, or online. Hedging specialists offer the widest range of sizes and, whilst plants are dormant (November to March) may offer bare rooted plants which are lifted directly from nursery fields. These tend to be most cost effective and are also plastic-free.
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Advice on buying Lonicera nitida
- Make sure you have the right growing condiitions before you buy – Lonicera nitida thrives in a variety of soil types in sun to partial shade
- Always check plants for signs of damage or disease before planting
Where to buy Lonicera nitida